Michelle Carey’s 17 fes­ti­val picks

MIFF’S artis­tic direc­tor would like to make the fol­low­ing sug­ges­tions, span­ning hot docs to fab­u­lous fic­tions, Aus­tralia to Zam­bia

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01 Aba­cus: Small Enough to Jail

“This doc­u­men­tary is about the one bank they tried to pros­e­cute in the US af­ter the GFC, a small fam­ily-run Chi­na­town bank in New York. There’s a lot of is­sues around racism. This is the one bank they went af­ter! I was cry­ing.” 02 Ali­pato: The Very Brief Life of an Em­ber “This is just bizarre, made by a young Filipino punk guy called Khavn. It’s about a gang of kids in Manila who rob a bank, so it’s very pulpy, but beau­ti­ful look­ing with bright neon colours, a dreamy aes­thetic. It’s pretty out there.”

03 Celia

“Last year we worked with the Na­tional Film and Sound Archive in Can­berra to re­store

Proof, and this year we’re do­ing Ann Turner’s Celia [1989], which for me is one of the great, un­der­seen gems of Aus­tralian cin­ema.”

04 Daphne

“It’s a Bri­tish in­die that fol­lows a self-de­struc­tive woman [Emily Beecham] ne­go­ti­at­ing life mov­ing into her thir­ties. She works in a café, she par­ties, she boozes. She’s a great char­ac­ter. The film­maker, Pe­ter Mackie Burns, is com­ing out for the fes­ti­val.”

05 Have You Seen the Lis­ters?

“It’s a re­ally strong year for new Aus­tralian films and my pick is

Have You Seen the Lis­ters? It’s di­rected by Ed­die Mar­tin who made [sear­ing skate­board­ing doco] All This Mayhem. This one is a por­trait of artist An­thony Lis­ter.”

06 I Am Not a Witch

“It’s set in Zam­bia with a cast of com­plete un­knowns and fo­cuses on this young girl who is ac­cused of be­ing a witch by the town she lives in. It’s quite funny and just a real sur­prise.”

07 Lemon

“Lemon is a dry black com­edy set in LA. It’s di­rected by Jan­icza Bravo and star­ring her hus­band Brett Gel­man, who is a Larry David-style comic, as a prob­lem­atic act­ing teacher.”

08 A Life in Waves

“I re­ally love this Suzanne Ciani doc­u­men­tary. Chi­ani was here in Jan­uary she played some con­certs. She’s a pi­o­neer in ana­logue and elec­tronic mu­sic from the ’70s, she worked on the Buchla syn­the­siser.”

09 Lucky

“Harry Dean Stan­ton is the lead and he’s 90 years old! It fol­lows this old man through his daily life in a desert town and the rit­u­als that he plays out ev­ery day.”

10 The Paris Opera

“A great doc­u­men­tary. As some­one who works in the arts I thought it was hi­lar­i­ous – it re­ally ex­poses the bu­reau­cracy.”

11Rat Film

“This is an es­say film os­ten­si­bly about the rat prob­lem in Bal­ti­more, Mary­land, but it also looks at the 20th cen­tury his­tory of the city, es­pe­cially its racial seg­re­ga­tion and how the rat prob­lem is a big part of that story.”

12 Rey

“A fan­tas­ti­cal film about a French ex­plorer in Chile. It’s a film that was lit­er­ally dug up from un­der­ground. Niles Atal­lah shot the film, buried the cel­lu­loid in the soil then dug it up again, so what you see is a lot of de­graded film.”


“A ballsy Aus­tralian clas­sic from 1988 that has been re­stored, about a mo­tor­cy­cle-rid­ing lawyer tack­ling a rape case in a cor­rupt, small town. It was the break­out role for De­borra-lee Fur­ness who’s go­ing to be there for the screen­ing.”

14 The 10th Vic­tim

“I love this 1965 Ital­ian scifi film, with Ur­sula An­dress and Mar­cello Mas­troianni. It’s so much fun. I re­mem­ber see­ing it in the 1990s and be­ing bowled over by the set de­sign, the cos­tumes, and the whole story, which an­tic­i­pates The

Hunger Games and re­al­ity TV.”

15 There Will Be Blood with the MSO

“Film fes­ti­vals should be about tran­scend­ing a nor­mal view­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We love this film and it will be won­der­ful to see it with a full orches­tra play­ing the iconic sound­track by Ra­dio­head’s Jonny Green­wood.”

16The Un­tamed

“The Un­tamed is a fan­tas­ti­cal, dark erotic thriller from Mex­ico. It’s quite dreamy, it’s got the fan­tas­ti­cal ele­ment em­bed­ded in this re­al­is­tic drama.”

17 Western

“Western is a funny Ger­man film that looks at mas­culin­ity – two groups of male man­ual work­ers on the bor­der of Greece and Bul­garia fac­ing off , like a western.”

Aba­cus: Small Enough to Jail

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